Archive for April, 2007

No comparison

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

A random choice from comments posted on the BBC website concerning journalist Alan Johnston, still held by the gangsters of Gaza (since March 12):

What cause can be justified by kidnapping innocent people? It is a cowardly act. What has Alan done that made you want to kidnap him? He is a journalist based in Gaza in support of the Palestinian people and their fight for freedom. I have been watching his reporting for years and he is a very good man. Release him immediately and stop causing so much pain for him and his family and friends.

There are at least 2835 similar remarks, of varying degrees of English literacy and insight, from all over the world. No, I didn’t read them all. I read as many as I could stand to read.

I would have expected to find at least one saying something like, “yes, while you’re at it, release Gilad Shalit too”. After all, Shalit is only 21 years old (he observed his birthday in captivity), he’s been held now for 10 months, and he too was just doing his job, trying to help his people in their struggle — not for ‘freedom’, but to keep from being murdered.

But I didn’t find anything like that. Lots of empathy for Mr. Johnston, lots of hard-headed comments of the form “don’t they understand that they’re hurting their cause?”, lots of appeals to God and Allah to bring him home, but I guess there’s just no comparison between a heroic journalist and a 21-year old draftee.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Write about something else, please

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

That was quick:

GAZA (Reuters) Thu Apr 26, 4:33 AM ET– Palestinian armed factions renewed their commitment to a Gaza Strip truce on Thursday but said rocket salvoes from the territory could resume if Israel did not halt military operations in the occupied West Bank.

JERUSALEM (AP) Thu Apr 26, 7:45 PM ET– Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets toward Israel on Thursday, the army said, and Israeli officials warned they were losing patience as rising tensions threatened a five-month cease-fire. [my emphasis]

What’s to threaten? Counting today’s two, a total of 225 Qassam rockets have been fired into Israel since the ‘cease-fire’ was declared in November.

Every day there’s at least one article about the cease-fire. Is it holding up, will it continue, did Israel strain it, will it be extended, did Don Imus insult it, etc. I have a picture in my mind of a Palestinian spokesperson surrounded by a crowd of reporters, each frantically trying to get his own angle on the fortunes of the really, really important cease-fire.

Please, write about something else, like how the Palestinians are so dumb that they kidnap friendly journalists, blow up their own restaurants and Internet cafes, and beat up unveiled women.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Sue the bastards

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Hezbollah's sign

AITA ESH SHAAB, Lebanon (AFP) – Shiite militants of Hezbollah erected a large photograph of two Israeli soldiers it is holding on Lebanon’s border with the Jewish state Thursday…

The photograph was a montage of old pictures already circulated in Israel of the two men in civilian clothes before their capture [on July 12, 2006]…

In the last few months, Hezbollah has raised flags, banners and pictures of its “martyrs” in an apparent show of defiance along the border with Israel.

Israel has still not received any confirmation that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are alive. This in itself means little, because the terrorists consider any information a valuable commodity, and provide it only in return for something.

Israel should sue Hezbollah in the International Court of Justice, demanding the return of the hostages held illegally, as well as payment of compensation for the incident. It’s hard to see how the court could find a way to make Israel the guilty party, insofar as Hezbollah terrorists crossed the border under cover of rocket fire, kidnapped the two and killed eight others. Seems open and shut to me.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Who is responsible for the Palestinian condition?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Iranian PM Ahmadinijad:

“If [the Holocaust] has actually taken place, where did it happen? Why should the Palestinian people become homeless (because of this)? Why should Palestinian children, women and mothers be killed on streets every day for 60 years?”

The president said that these innocent people losing their lives had no role in World War II.

“All of them had been killed in Europe and Palestinian people were not involved in it,” he added. — MEMRI

The assumption is that Israel draws its legitimacy from the Holocaust. But nothing could be farther from the truth. By 1948, the Zionist enterprise in Palestine had been underway for about 60 years. All of the institutions of a state were in place. The League of Nations mandate of 1922 recognized the historic connection of the Jews to the land and the need to create a ‘Jewish National Home’ in Palestine (not in all of Palestine). The Jewish Yishuv in Palestine had built an economy which provided for many more Jews and Arabs than could have lived there if it had not been for Zionism. The Jewish leadership was totally focussed on creating a state, and — as in other areas administered by the colonial powers — it would have happened, Holocaust or no.

The Arab leadership, especially the antisemitic Nazi Haj Amin al-Husseini, refused to agree to any Jewish state anywhere in Palestine, even in the area where there was a clear Jewish majority. This leadership denied the Jews their right to self-determination, denied the legitimacy of the League of Nations mandate, and consistently violated the human rights of the Jews by inciting riots and pogroms, such as the one in Hebron in 1928 in which 67 Jews were murdered and the city ethnically cleansed of its 800 Jews.

In 1937, the British Peel Commission proposed a partition of Palestine into a (small) Jewish and an Arab state. The Zionists accepted it, but the Arabs did not. All subsequent attempts to provide for both Jewish and Arab self-determination, from 1948 through the Clinton/Barak plan of 2000, were rejected by the Arab nations and the Palestinian leadership, as were all attempts to heal the wounds of 1948 by resettling Arab refugees (the Jews resettled their own refugees). In recent years, Yasser Arafat and his cronies stole literally billions of dollars that were intended to help build the infrastructure of a Palestinian state.

So my response to Ahmadinijad is the following: why should the Jewish people continue to suffer from aggressive wars and terrorism because of something that they were not responsible for — the failure of the Arab leadership? The Jews did not refuse any of the partition agreements, the Jews did not prevent a solution to the refugee problem, and the Jews did not impoverish the Palestinian people.

The Arabs and their friends like to turn history upside down, but they can’t change reality.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Restraint is not always a virtue

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

From YNet:

The army was aware from the onset of last summer’s war in Lebanon that a military operation against Hizbullah would not secure the release of two soldiers kidnapped in a cross-border attack, a senior general said Wednesday, contradicting past claims by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Northern Command chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who was the head of the Operations Directorate during the war, said that the army presented the government with a plan to weaken Hizbullah and never suggested that the soldiers could be freed…

Eizenkot also revealed that the army’s plan outlined a 6-day operation aimed at destroying Hizbullah’s posts in south Lebanon and partially damaging Lebanon’s infrastructure to pressure the Lebanese government to deploy the army in the south.

Such a limited operation would not have been capable of rescuing the hostages, who were likely out of southern Lebanon within a few hours of their kidnapping.

The plan to weaken Hizbullah by pressuring Lebanon was particularly ill-conceived. Although I am obviously speaking from hindsight, it seems to me that the relative weakness of the Lebanese government in relation to Hizbullah and Syria should have been understood, as well as the significant amount of sympathy for Hizbullah in the Lebanese army (some 30% of which is Shiite). I also think that the disastrous consequences for Israel’s public relations from attacking Lebanese infrastructure should have been foreseen.

The alternatives would have been to do little or nothing after the initial pursuit, or to have gone full-bore after Hizbullah, with intent to damage the organization as severely as possible. This would have been a much larger operation than the one that took place, and would have risked confrontation with Syria. And of course there is never a guarantee that hostages can be freed safely.

However (and now I am really speaking from hindsight), this is exactly what should have been done. By failing to act more aggressively, Israel allowed herself to go from the frying pan into the fire. In my estimation Syria and Hizbullah are preparing to attack Israel in the near future. # Hizbullah has fully resupplied. But in contrast to the situation last summer their position has improved:

  • They may have the advantage of a suprise attack.
  • Syria’s missile and other forces have been considerably beefed up in the period since the war.
  • Hamas will be able to open a much more significant southern front than before.
  • The increased UN presence in and around Lebanon will make it harder for Israel to respond.
  • The outcome of the last war has given Israel’s enemies a psychological advantage.

Of course, the IDF has learned a few things as well. For its part, the political leadership needs to build up home front defenses, make sure that the army is fully supplied for the serious and extensive conflict that is expected, and understand that restraint is not always a virtue.

Technorati Tags: , , ,